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Arctic Fishing Co. vessel flagged to Lithuania seized by Russia, accused of illegal fishing for snow crab in Barents Sea

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton - Sept. 23, 2014

Russia has seized a Lithuanian crab fishing vessel that was fishing in the 'donut hole' area of the Barents Sea, which is an area outside the 200 mile limits of both Russia and Norway.

 This area is under the nominal supervision by the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission, a Regional Fisheries body made up of  Denmark (i.r.o. Faroe Islands and Greenland), EU, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation.

At the moment there is something of a crab rush going on for snow crab, as the fishery is just developing, and those vessels fishing now in international waters in an 'open' fishery, will soon be facing a quota system which could largely be based on fishing history. As a result, vessels are rushing into the area to do crab fishing.  Along with the Lithuanian vessel, at least one Russian vessel has also been seized and accused of illegal fishing in the Russian zone, when it was fishing in the open area. 

The vessel seizure may have less to do with IUU fishing than with Russia asserting its aggressiveness with Lithuania. The facts of the matter appear to be that the vessel in question, the Juros Vilkas,  (Sea Wolf) is a Lithuanian flagged vessel owned, according to Lithuanian newspaper reports, by Arctic Fishing, of which Seattle based Alexander-Yuri Silagin is the sole shareholder.   The vessel was fishing in the international zone and did stray over the Russian line for a short time, perhaps an hour.  Acting on this, the Russian border patrol seized the vessel at gunpoint in international waters, and accused the vessel of fishing in the Russian zone...


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